New Orleans Set to Remove Confederate Monuments
Like taking a scrub brush to history, New Orleans City Council voted to take down 4 Confederate Monuments that have stood for years. The move has divided a city that has historic roots to the Civil War and beyond. Private money will be used to remove the monuments, which are estimated to cost $170,000.
The City Council voted to remove the four monuments with only one dissenting vote. Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed the bill into law. But they are facing a lawsuit filed Thursday from groups seeking to stop the city from removing them.
The Right to Free Speech…
“Plaintiffs have a First Amendment right to free expression, free speech and free
association, which they exercise by maintaining and preserving the historic character and nature of the City of New Orleans, including their monuments, and by using the monuments as the location for events commemorating individuals and events critical to the outcome of the Civil War.” From the lawsuit
The lawsuit is not just about free speech, however. The plaintiffs are alleging partial ownership of one of the monuments, as well as moving historic landmarks, and other issues. For them, the history is not about the evil Jim Crow laws, or white supremacy, it is about Southern veterans heritage in the Civil war. Not all of those soldiers were white.
The Plaintiffs are: Monumental Task Committee, Louisiana Landmarks Society, the Foundation for Historical Louisiana and the Beauregard Camp No. 130, a local chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. One article stated that the city has promised not to remove the monuments until the next court hearing on January 14. Other stated they were removing that as soon as possible.
The four monuments are: Gens. Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard, Confederate States of America President Jefferson Davis, as well as the city’s Battle of Liberty Place obelisk (which memorializes a failed revolt by the Crescent City White League against the Reconstruction state government). Some of the monuments have been in place since 1884.
The obelisk is the most controversial of them all.
The most controversial is an 1891 obelisk honoring the Crescent City White League. An inscription added in 1932 said the Yankees withdrew federal troops and “recognized white supremacy in the South” after the group challenged Louisiana’s biracial government after the Civil War. In 1993, these words were covered by a granite slab with a new inscription, saying the obelisk honors “Americans on both sides” who died and that the conflict “should teach us lessons for the future.” GOPUSA
It should teach us lessons for the future, but it hasn’t.
The wrong way to delete the past
The whole issue came up after the shooting at a Charleston, S.C. church. But the best way to remove the past isn’t by removing the memory of it. The best way is by learning the lessons from it.
Removing the memory of the past will cause it to be repeated. The lone vote against removal of the monuments, Stacy Head, made this statement.
“Those who oppose the removal of the monuments have feelings too. We know exactly what’s going to happen today. This will not bring healing, only division.”